City Living: Boutique Shopping in Toronto

The need for a new fall wardrobe has us dreaming of the shops of New York, L.A., Paris and London. We’re not saying Toronto is lacking in the shopping department, our office is just a stone’s throw away from many great stores on Queen Street after all, but the appeal of stores like H&M and Zara begin to wear thin when you show up to work and three other girls are wearing the same shirt as you. Here are three boutiques that we think will satisfy your craving for a shopping vacation.

Uptown: Canopy Blue (2582 Yonge St., just north of Eglinton)

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For those of us who live north of Bloor, it’s always a bonus to be able to get our shopping fix right in our own area. Squeezed in between Gap Kids, West 49 and Chocky’s, Canopy Blue is a shopping oasis in a desert of big chains and family friendly stores. Since opening in 2008, owners Nicole Bitove and Candice Ilton have created a store with a laid back vibe and selection of designers that rival any boutique in L.A. From T-shirts to black tie, designers include Smythe, Herve Leger, J Brand, and Jay Godfrey, to name just a few.  

Midtown: The Narwhal (8 Price St., Suite 101, just south of Summerhill station)

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We think you’ll agree that The Narwhal has brought shopping in Toronto to a new level. Situated a little off the beaten shopping track, you can find the store directly across from the Summerhill LCBO in Rosedale. When walking through the doors of the Narwhal, you are immediately surrounded by all things beautiful, and we don’t just mean the clothes. With a background in interior design, co-owner Sydney Wills has created an environment worthy of the clothes it houses. With designers like Acne, Dolce Vita, Helmut Lang, House of Harlow, and Haute Hippie, we warn, you may want to take out a loan and buy everything in the store; we did.
Downtown: Jonathan + Olivia (49 Ossington Ave., at Queen)

We just about died when we heard there was going to be a store in Toronto that sold Topshop. Excited by the prospect of getting to shop at our favourite London-based store, we got there as soon as humanly possible and were not disappointed. While Topshop was the initial draw, the designers that continue to fill the racks like Alexander Wang, Rag & Bone, Marc Jacobs and Pamela Love make it hands down one of the best boutiques in the city. 

When it comes to shopping, these stores really are a breath of fresh air. We guarantee you won’t miss the big crowds, annoying sales associates and impersonal experience of big box store shopping.  You may need to spend a little more, but it’s worth it. 

What’s your favourite boutique in Toronto? Tweet us @rockitpromo or comment below.


My ‘Hood: Marsh

We’re so excited to welcome Marsh to the fourth floor, our newest team member. We wanted to get to know her better, so we asked her to spill the beans about her ‘hood, Liberty Village.

My recent move to Liberty Village marks my first time living solo and as a homeowner. It’s been six months and I couldn’t be happier. I had always thought of Liberty Village as nothing but a condo mecca, but my real estate agent (luckily) convinced me otherwise. Sure, there are a ton of new developments left, right and centre. In fact, I’m often woken by the sounds of construction. But what makes me most excited about living here is the emerging sense of community. I love being a part of its progress and can’t wait to see how the area takes shape over the next few years.

Most Saturday mornings begin with a visit to Barista, an authentic Italian espresso bar in the heart of the other Village. What sets Barista apart from many other cafes in the city is the polished white marble countertops, lush velvet seats and distinctly Italian-style espresso. This isn’t a coffee house where you scrounge for a seat and share newspapers with your neighbour to the left, but it is the perfect place to enjoy a bit of quiet (and be whisked away to Rome).
Sundays you can find me at Noir Nail Bar catching up with a girlfriend over mani/pedis. It’s a great place to de-stress and the staff are always friendly. The complimentary Wi-Fi is great when I sneak in a treatment after work and finally take some time to read the news, tweet, pay bills – and send that long overdue e-mail to my mom!

One of the main reasons I moved to the area was the sheer convenience of being a stone’s throw from the Metro grocery store, BMO,  Blockbuster and the LCBO. I even trudged most of my furniture home from West Elm Modern Furniture! But recent additions to the bar and restaurant scene are making it nearly impossible for me to ever leave my ‘hood.
This summer, InLibertyVillage, a group that organizes creative and cultural events for residents, hosted a weekly community social hour. Every Thursday, we were invited to check out a different spot for post-work cocktails with neighbours. Not only did I discover some neighbourhood gems like Mildred’s Temple Kitchen and Merci Mon Ami but I also met some really fantastic people.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across Vocado, an adorable boutique carrying brands like Lipsy, J Brand and Velvet. Love at first sight? That would be an understatement. Since then, I’ve tried convincing myself that a simple browse can be just as satisfying, but without fail, walk home with yet another addition to my closet every time. If we’re all allowed a vice, Vocado’s mine.

Last week’s purchase: The Ear Hart by J Brand.
 If you haven’t been, Liberty Village is worth a visit. Spend a few hours shopping, wining and dining and come back periodically to see what new developments pop up.